BOSTON — The struggle was obvious Friday night. Even with the ghost runner on second base, the Yankees could not score a run in the 10th inning of their 3-2 loss to the Red Sox. It was their seventh straight extra frame without being able to scratch a run across.
The lineup that once seemed invincible has looked entirely human over the last two weeks. The Yankees who averaged nearly six runs a game, have averaged just under four over their last 12 games. A team that was hitting .244/.330/.442 with a .771 OPS — second in the big leagues only to the Dodgers — has hit .220/.302/.355 with a .657 OPS in the last dozen games.
Aaron Boone admitted that Friday night, when the Yankees went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, was an offensive struggle. Still, the Yankees manager said that he is confident in his lineup and they will be even more so when Giancarlo Stanton comes off the injured list.
“I think it’s been more a few days where we’ve had a day or two where we kind of got shut down and then a day or two where we haven’t gotten that big hit,” Boone said. “Like last night is a good example of where I felt like we would pressure [Nathan] Eovaldi to start a lot of really good at-bats and give ourselves some good opportunities and just couldn’t deliver that knockout blow to kind of break it open. Last night was a night where I feel like we’ve had that opportunity.
“I think over the long haul, obviously missing [Stanton}. That’s a big, big piece to be missing in the middle of your order, but I feel like over the long haul, offensively, we’ve been there. But we’ve had a couple of guys that have struggled through there,” Boone continued. “Lately, even on days where we’ve strung together a lot of hits and had traffic we haven’t scored. Again, it’s a scoring contest, not a hitting contest. So we got to get a couple guys moving in the right direction. Especially guys that we rely on and then hopefully here at some point, get G back and we’ll get there offensively.”
Giancarlo Stanton is continuing his rehab from Achilles tendinitis in New York. The Yankees are hopeful he can go through an entire pregame by the time they are back at Yankee Stadium on Monday. That might let them start thinking about a rehab assignment.
“He’s working out as we speak right now. Yesterday was probably ramped up a little bit more as far as running progressions, more hitting, more defensive work,” Boone said. “Think the next step will be getting through like a full pregame workout where he’s out shagging and standing around doing those kinds of things. Hopefully that’s tomorrow or Monday. We’ll probably be in a position to hopefully set a rehab schedule.”
Stanton, who has been on the IL since July 24, would need to play in some rehab games — or simulated games — to work on getting his timing back. Boone, however, thinks once he gets to that point it will be a quick turnaround.
“I don’t think it will be long. So whether that’s two or three games,” Boone said. “I’m not sure exactly, but I don’t expect them to be long.”
Still, Stanton has to run the bases before he will be cleared for that.
Miguel Castro, who has been on the IL since July 16 with a right shoulder strain, began his throwing program.
“He’ll have a little slower ramp up. But I think he was four weeks in a row [without throwing], but he’s had a couple of days playing catch,” Boone said.
The right-hander could be back this season if everything goes smoothly with his rehab, but it will be close.
“He should be back in September,” Boone added.